A charming subject goes a long way in character-study doc I Am Thor, an imperfect but energizing portrait of self-styled metal god Jon Mikl Thor.
Director Ryan Wise unwisely tiptoes around Thor, overprotecting his subject by not including enough uninterrupted concert footage, either from Thor’s heyday in the mid-Seventies or during his group’s more recent, years-long comeback tour. When he takes the stage, Thor wins over his crowd with his carnival-freak zeal by bending steel bars and inflating hot-water bottles until they burst.
Wise doesn’t have to work too hard to hype up Thor’s eccentric rise-and-fall-and-rise-again story arc. Thor performs admirably during present-day interview segments and candidly recalls his career’s travails, including his band’s abortive record deal with RCA and his premature retirement in 1987. Thor treats viewers to dishy anecdotes about his brief stint as a frequently fondled stripper and his even shorter film career starring in Z-grade grindhouse fare like Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare (which Thor also scripted).
But the footage is over-edited, and nobody seems to ask him follow-ups. I Am Thor may not answer all of your questions, but it will leave you wanting more.
I Am Thor
Directed by Ryan Wise
MPI Media Group
Opens November 20